Northern Indiana has a large groundwater supply. It is used heavily to supply water for the area, and for most of the people in the area, there's no alternative source for drinking water nearby. But it's not naturally protected from toxic substances released from the surface. The aquifer is 5 to 25 feet below ground level and extends as far as 400 feet below ground. The problem is the make up of the ground above the aquifer. It's sandy and porous, allowing water to run through from the surface, along with chemical spills and other contamination. Many aquifers are covered with clay, which provides some protection from contamination from the surface. Everything from septic system failure to gasoline and diesel spills threaten the quality of the groundwater. Fertilizers, insecticides and perticides are intended to remain in the soil near the surface, but the sandy soil has limited capacity to hold it, and if it becomes overburdened by heavy use of these chemicals, they will also end up in the ground water. Northern Indiana also has its share of industrial contamination.
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